FACULTIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN iii. Faculty of Law and Political Science



iii. Faculty of Law and Political Science

The Faculty of Law and Political Science (Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī) is one of the oldest institutions of modern higher education in Persia, founded in 1306 Š./1927 with the merger of the School of Political Science (Madrasa-ye ʿolūm-e sīāsī, q.v.; established in 1317/1899) and the School of Law (Madrasa-ye ʿālī-e ḥoqūq; established in 1337/1918). In 1313 Š./1934, when the University of Tehran was founded, the school formed one of six main faculties of the new university and was renamed Faculty of Law, Political Science, and Economics (Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī o eqteṣādī). Finally, in 1967, when the Department of Economics was granted faculty status, the Faculty of Law, Political Science, and Economics was renamed the Faculty of Law and Political Science.

The School of Political Science (Madrasa-ye ʿolūm-e sīāsī), the second modern institution of higher learning after Dār al-fonūn (q.v.), was established on 15 Šaʿbān 1317/19 December 1899 to train sons of notables for modern diplomatic services. It was founded by Mīrzā Naṣr-Allāh Khan Nāʾīnī Mošīr-al-Dawla, the Foreign Minister, at the suggestion of his son, Mīrzā Ḥasan Mošīr-al-Molk, a law graduate from Moscow University who organized the school and became its first principal (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī II, pp. 68-69).

The School of Political Science was the pioneering educational institution in the fields of modern political science and international relations, jurisprudence, economics, and history. The term of study at the School of Political Science was five years, consisting of a three-year preparatory and a two-year advanced level. Functioning both as a high school and as a university faculty, it offered core subjects, such as history and geography, as well as courses on diplomacy, which included French language, international law, and jurisprudence. Moḥammad-ʿAlī Forūḡī (q.v.), an instructor and later the principal of the School of Political Science, prepared several pioneering textbooks on the history of Persia and ancient peoples, including a history of the Sasanians (Tārīḵ-e Sāsānīān, Tehran, 1316/1898); a history of the ancient nations of the East (Tārīḵ-e melal-e qadīma-ye mašreq, Tehran, 1318/1900); a history of ancient Persia (Tārīḵ-e Īrān-e qadīm, Tehran, 1318/1900); and a concise history of Persia (Dawra-ye tārīḵ-e moḵtaṣar-e Īrān, Tehran, 1323/1905). He also prepared the first textbook on economics, a translation from French of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (Oṣūl-e ʿelm-e ṯarwat-e melal, Tehran, 1323/1905) as well as the first textbook on constitutional law (Ḥoqūq-e asāsī yā ādāb-e mašrūṭīyat-e dowal, Tehran, 1325/1907). In addition, Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Mošīr-al-Molk prepared the first textbook on international law (Ḥoqūq-e bayn al-melal; Forūḡī, pp. 718, 721-27; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī II, pp. 68-71; Afšār, pp. 233-37; Pahlavān, pp. 345-57).

The School of Law (Madrasa-ye ʿālī-e ḥoqūq). This school was established on 13 December 1918 on the initiative of Fīrūz Mīrzā Noṣrat-al-Dawla (q.v.), the minister of justice (wazīr-e ʿadlīya) as a department of the ministry for training judges and lawyers. Fīrūz Mīrzā commissioned Adolphe Perney, the French advisor of the Ministry, to set up the school by recruiting four French law instructors, and a number of qualified Persians. Perney was appointed as the dean and Mīrzā Jawād Khan ʿĀmerī as the associate dean. The school’s academic structure included a two year high school preparatory level at tenth and eleventh grades and a three year college education proper offering a līsāns (bachelor’s degree). The School of Law trained 82 graduates in five classes from 1921-26 (ʿĀqelī, pp. 46-48; Afšār, p. 238; Forūḡī, pp. 733-34).

The School of Law and Political Science. In 1306 Š./1927 Sayyed Moḥammad Tadayyon, minister of education (wazīr-e maʿāref), brought under the jurisdiction of his ministry the Faculty of Political Science from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wezārat-e ḵāreja), and the School of Law from Ministry of Justice (Wezārat-e ʿadlīya). The two schools merged to form the School of Law and Political Science (Madrasa-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī). Mīrzā ʿAlī-Akbar Khan Dehḵodā, who had been in charge of the School of Political Science since 1299 Š./1920, was appointed its dean. Also incorporated into this school was the School of Commerce (Madrasa-ye tejārat, established in 1305 Š./1926). The three year program of the school was divided into a two year period of core courses and a final year of specialized training in the fields of law, political science, administration, or economics (ʿAbdoh, pp. 58-59; Afšār, pp. 238-39; ʿĀqelī, pp. 47-48).

The Faculty of Law, Political Science and Economics. In 1313 Š./1934, the School of Law and Political Science was renamed the Faculty of Law, Political Science, and Economics (Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī o eqteṣādī) and formed, along with five other schools, the University of Tehran. In Esfand 1319 Š./March 1941, the new building of the faculty was inaugurated on the campus of the University of Tehran. The faculty members included Shaikh Moḥammad ʿAbdoh Borūjerdī (civil code, and civil procedures), Jawād ʿĀmerī (commercial law, private international law, and penal procedures), Alexander Āqāyān (penal code), Moḥsen Asadī (English), Moḥammad Bāqer Āyat-Allāhzāda (feqh or Islamic jurisprudence), ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd Aʿẓamī Zangana (money and banking), Gild Brand (Russian), Sayyed Ḥasan Emāmī (q.v.; history of law), Julian Lafin (French), Amīr Sehām-al-Dīn Ḡaffārī (history of diplomacy), Aḥmad Matīn Daftarī (international organizations), Moḥammad Maẓāher (also known as Ṣadīq Ḥażrat; international law, finance), Sayyed Walī-Allāh Naṣr (history of Persian law, economics), Qāsem Qāsemzāda (constitutional law, economics, and history of economic thought), and Shaikh Moḥammad Sangalajī (Islamic jurisprudence, feqh; Afšār, pp. 240-41; Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 56, 355).

Among the well-known political and academic figures who served as dean of this faculty were ʿAlī Akbar Dehḵodā (q.v.; 1934-41), Mosṭafā ʿAdl Manṣūr-al-Salṭana (1941-42), Aʿẓamī Zangana (1942-51), Mūsā ʿAmīd (1951-63), and Moḥammad Naṣīrī (1971-75; Afšār, p. 240). Some of its faculty members who gained national fame included Sayyed ʿAlī Šāyegān, Ḥasan Emāmī (q.v.), Shaikh Moḥammad Sangalajī, Mīrzā Maḥmūd Šehābī, Moḥammad Meškāt, Aḥmad Matīn Daftarī, Ebrāhīm Pūr-e Dāwūd, ʿAbd-Allāh Moʿaẓẓamī, Moṣṭafā Meṣāḥzāda, and Karīm Sanjābī.

Academic structure. Until 1336 Š./1957 the three-year term of study was divided into a two-year core curriculum and a final year of specialization in one of the three major fields—law, political science, or economics. Then the term was increased to four years, consisting of two years of required core courses and two years of specialized courses. The curriculum emphasized the civil law of Persia and its bases in Shiʿite jurisprudence. Civil law was one of the required courses in the first two years as well as a core course for those specializing in law and required both oral and written examinations. Shiʿite jurisprudence was taught in both the core curriculum and in the specialized curriculum for law. The latter curriculum also included oṣūl-e feqh (methods of deriving Islamic jurisprudence) and qawāʾed-e feqh (principles of Islamic jurisprudence). Graduation required completion of the four year term of study as well as a thesis in one of the fields (Dānešgāh-e Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, p. 929).

In 1334 Š./1955 a doctoral program in three disciplines—law, political science, and economics— was offered in the faculty, with the assistance of a number of American and French scholars. In 1343 Š./1964 the faculty followed other institutions of higher education and adopted the American two semester system and assigned faculty members to a number of semi-independent departments, including private civil law (ḥoqūq-e ḵoṣūṣī), Islamic law, political science, social economics, comparative law, finance, political economy, criminal law, and public law. Also adopted was a minimum program of study of one year for the master’s degree and of two years for the doctoral degree (Dānešgāh-e Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, pp. 929-30; Idem, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 47-49).

Enrollment. In the period from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s, the faculty’s enrollment vacillated between 2,000 and 2,600. In the post-Revolution period, enrollment dropped to 885 in 1986-87 and 981 in 1996-97 (Table 1). The female participation rate has increased rapidly from none in 1936-37 and only 0.2 percent in 1946-47 to three percent in 1956-57, over 13 percent in 1966-67, and nearly 20 percent in 1996-97.

Affiliated institutes. In the period 1955-73 a number of research and educational institutes in the specialized fields of business administration, economics, criminology, international relations, and comparative law were established in the Faculty of Law and Political Science. In 1333 Š./1954, with the cooperation of the University of Southern California (USC), the Institute of Business Administration (Moʾassasa-ye ʿolūm-e edārī) was established, offering master’s and doctoral programs in administration. Harry Marlow, from USC, and Mūsā ʿAmīd, dean of the faculty, served as co-directors of the institute. Eight American and a number of Persian instructors taught there. In 1343 Š./1964 this institute was granted the status of a faculty and was separated from the Faculty of Law and Political Science as the Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e edārī wa modīrīyat-e bāzargānī (Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 79-84).

The Institute of Economic Research (Moʾassasa-ye taḥqīqāt-e eqteṣādī) was founded in 1339 Š./1960 under the supervision of the Department of Economics with three research groups. The reports of the research groups and other articles on economic issues were published in the Institute’s journal, Taḥqīqāt-e eqteṣādī. In 1345 Š./1966 the institute and the department were separated from the Faculty of Law and Political Science and formed the Faculty of Economics. In 1337 Š./1958 the Institute of Journalism (Moʾassasa-ye rūz-nāma- negārī) was founded and offered a one year program for journalists with cooperation of James Wellard of the University of Virginia. The Center for Higher International Studies (Markaz-e moṭālaʿāt-e ʿālī-e bayn al-melalī) was founded in 1345 Š./1966 as part of the faculty in order to train experts and researchers in the field of international relations, international law, international economics, and international organizations. This institute admitted students at the master’s level. It was first part of the Department of Political Science, but in 1352 Š./1973 it was merged with the newly founded Department of International Relations. The Institute of Criminology (Moʾassasa-ye taḥqīqāt-e ʿolūm-e jazāʾī wa jorm-æenāsī) was also founded in 1345 Š./1966 and offered a one year program in criminology for in-service training of various professionals in the field of criminal justice. The Institute was abolished after the Revolution of 1978-79 but resumed its research activities in 1989. The Institute of Comparative Law, with four separate research sections (Islamic law, Roman and Germanic law, common law, and social law), was founded in 1352 Š./1973. It has organized several conferences as well as a number of short-term courses in comparative law, drawing upon Persian and foreign scholars. It has also published a number of books and periodicals in comparative law (Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 237, 428, 435, 438; and personal interviews).

The library of the faculty. With over 80,000 printed titles, 310 periodicals, and 716 valuable manuscripts in the early 1970s, the library of the faculty was one of the major libraries in the country. The library has housed the private libraries of Moḥammad-ʿAlī Forūḡī, ʿAlī-Akbar Dāvar, Moḥammad Moṣaddeq, Mūsā ʿAmīd, and Ṣādeq Reżāzāda Šafaq.

An evaluation. In its long life, which extends over the 20th century, the Faculty of Law and Political Science has undergone periods of innovation and stagnation. Founded as the School of Political Science at the turn of the century, the Faculty introduced modern social sciences, including political science, international relations, diplomacy, economics, and even the modern discipline of historiography to the Persian elite. Its Department of Law also introduced modern jurisprudence and principles of legal procedures in both fields of civil law and criminal justice. However, until the late 1950s it languished under the old French curriculum (with minor modifications). This was particularly evident in the fields of political science and economics, where old theories and texts were taught for several decades. For instance, in this period the course on political thought covered only Greek political philosophy and the political ideas of the middle ages and did not deal with either modern political theory or the history of Persian political thought. Innovative changes were introduced to the faculty in the late 1950s to 1960s when the introduction of a doctoral program and the addition of affiliated institutes brought a number of American, French, and Persian scholars to the faculty who offered new courses or revised and updated the content of old courses. Among the new courses were macroeconomics, modern political theory, and the history of Persian and Islamic political thought.

All in all, until the 1970s, the Faculty of Law and Political Science was a major training ground for the Persian intellectual and political elite. It educated public servants, lawyers, judges, economists, diplomats, and journalists. Although other universities in Persia have founded similar faculties since the 1960s, the greater number of country’s cadres at the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs have been trained by this faculty.

In the post-Revolution period of the 1980s to the 1990s the faculty has encountered serious challenges from a powerful faction of the conservative ʿolamāʾ who had always suspected the faculty of being a bastion of secularism. As early as the time of its establishment at the turn of the century, Shiʿite ʿolamāʾ had objected to the teaching of courses in Islamic jurisprudence at the School of Political Science. The subject, they believed, should be taught only at religious schools. Their suspicion heightened when the School of Law was established to train judges and lawyers, professions which had been the monopoly of the ʿolamāʾ for over a millennium. It was not surprising that the faculty was among the first targets of the purge of the University of Tehran during the cultural revolution of the early 1980s. As a result of the purge, a number of well- qualified members of the faculty as well as the secularist instructors who had joined the faculty after the Revolution were dismissed. To strip the faculty of its basic function, those ʿolamāʾ who dominated the Ministry of Justice established the School of Judicial Sciences (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e qażāʾī) in 1982 to train judges and lawyers for the newly organized Islamic judiciary system. Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established the School of International Relations (Dāneškada-ye rawābeṭ-e bayn-al-melal) in 1983 to train personnel for the diplomatic service. As a result, the faculty’s traditional function, i.e., training judges, lawyers, and diplomats, has been suspended and members of the faculty and the content of its curriculum continue to be under the control of conservative religious elements.



J. ʿAbdoh, Čehel sāl dar ṣaḥna I, Tehran, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 58-59.

Ī. Afšār, “Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq,” in Sawād o bayāż, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, II, pp. 233-42.

B. ʿĀqelī, Ḵāṭerāt-e yak noḵost wazīr: Doktor Aḥmad Matīn Daftarī, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992.

Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, Sāl-āma-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, sāl-e taḥṣīlī-e 1335-1336, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957.

Idem, Aḵbār-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, šemāra-ye maḵṣūs: Taḥawwolāt-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān az sāl-e 1320 tā sāl-e 1344 šamsī, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965.

Idem, Rāhnemā-ye dānešgāh-e Tehrān, 1353-54, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975, p. 149.

Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī, Sāl-nāma-ye dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī o eqteṣādī, Tehran, for academic years 1313-14 Š./1934-35, 1317-18 Š./1938-39, 1326-27 Š./1947-48, 1331-32 Š./1952-53, 1342-43 Š./1963-64.

Idem, Rāhnemā-ye dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī o eqteṣādī, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967.

Idem, Gozāreš-e dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī be dānešgāh-e Tehrān, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.

M.-ʿA. Forūḡī, “Tārīḵča-ye ḥoqūq,” Taʿlīm o tarbīat 6/10, 1315 Š./1936, pp. 717-34.

Ḥ Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, Tārīḵ-e taḥawwol-e dānešgāh-e Tehrān wa moʾassasāt-e āmūzeš-e ʿālī-e Īrān dar ʿaṣr-e ḵojasta-ye Pahlavī, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971.

Č. Pahlavān, Dar zamīna-ye Īrān-æenāsī II, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 327-505.

Wezārat-e farhang, Sāl-nāma o āmār 1322-27, Tehran, 1327 Š./1948.

Wezārat-e farhang o Āmūzeš-e ʿālī, Āmār-e āmūzeš-e ʿālī-e Īrān: sāl-e taḥṣīlī-e 1372-73, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994.

Wezārat-e maʿāref, Sāl-nāma o āmār 1315-16, Tehran, 1316 Š./1937.

(Ahmad Ashraf)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 20, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 2, pp. 143-146